City of Rayne adopts budget of over $19 million

RAYNE - During the regular monthly meeting of the Rayne City Council held Monday, Sept. 10, a $19.3 million operational budget was presented and adopted by the City Council.
The fiscal year runs from Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30, 2019.
In presenting the budget, Annette Cutrera, city clerk, noted that, of the $18 million in projected revenue for fiscal 2018-2019, more than half — $9.2 million — will come from the city’s Proprietary Funds, specifically the Utility Revenues (sanitation and utility enterprise fund).
City taxes and permits are expected to add $2.5 million to the revenue stream.
The city’s General Fund, the primary source of day-to-day operational funding, shows a projected revenue of $5.246 million with expenses expected to reach $5.295 million, resulting in an ending fund balance of $1.187 million in that particular fund.
“Even though our expenses are more than our revenues, we still project an excess — or ending balance — of $13.5 million at the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year,” Cutrera said.
She pointed out that $1.2 million budgeted in Capital Outlay expenditures “are for the current infrastructure that has outlived its useful life.
“This infrastructure ensures the level of service the citizens deserve and expect,” she added.
“Even though we need to upgrade or replace the infrastructure, this administration is keeping an eye on the economy and cash flow so as to stay within the city’s financial means. Financial experts have reviewed the situation and agree that we must address the outdated infrastructure and have the strong financials to be able to obtain grants (or) take out loans while conserving our cash flow for day-to-day operations.”
The lone question to the budget during the public hearing came from audience member James Montgomery, who asked where the budget indicates funds for the city’s parks.
Mayor Charles “Chuck” Robichaux explained, “The budget for the parks is included under the centers, parks and recreation portion of the budget that I think you acquired last week when you requested a copy.”
Robichaux also explained the priorities the Council has for all Rayne citizens -- infrastructure.
“Without clean water, electricity and sewer service, I don’t think parks are number one on that list,” he said. “The city began working on these necessities back in November when we began work on the water clarifier at the water plant. We are also having problems with our last working generator that we have to use in case of emergencies.
“Sure, we have allocated money for parks and that’s what we are about to discuss. We are not forgetting about the children, but our decaying infrastructure is a priority for all our citizens.”
Also during the meeting, the council unanimously adopted amendments to the 2017-2018 budget to bring figures to within 5 percent of actual, as mandated by state law.
“This administration began October 1, 2018, on a positive note with $12.6 million and it is projected to end September 30, 2018, $200,000 less, almost flat, at a total of $12.4 million,” Cutrera said.
“This was accomplished by taking in almost as much revenue as we spent. More importantly, the revenues are up $162K over the original budget and expenses were down $509K compared to the original budget. Through the mayor’s business savvy, he was able to generate new revenue streams while negotiating and spending conservatively to keep the city’s financials strong.
“Every fund began and ended ‘to the good’,” she said.
The two amendments for the approval were (1) the removal of $20,000 from the operating budget (water well expense intended for the new city park presently being built) and (2) $150,000 to remain in the budget until a decision is made for a city-wide splash pad or new playground equipment for the existing parks.
As noted by Robichaux, the $150,000 was derived from a $100,000 donation by Lee Crossing Subdivision for civic improvements and a $50,000 surplus of the unemployment comp fund.
One resolution was considered and approved authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with TJ Phillips Designs LLC Landscape Architecture and Site Planning to create a rendering for the city’s new park project (property recently donated to the city on Mervine Kahn Ave.). The resolution was approved with the stipulation of no action until ideas and projects are submitted by the committee, headed by City Councilman Lendell “Pete” Babineaux, and input by the public.
Under new business, the monthly financial update was presented by City Clerk Annette Cutrera.
The Council also approved the appointment of assistant city attorneys of Borne, Wilkes & Rabalais, LLC, for the city of Rayne for the remainder of the year.
A number of items of the city’s water department were approved as surplus.
Two projects were considered for demolition, a home at 512 N. Bradford and a former business at the corner of 816 Lyman and West D Street.
The North Bradford location was given 90 days to be demolished. The former business on Lyman given 90 days to tear down the garage portion, board up openings and clear the property.
As reported by City Inspector Mark Daigle, three items were submitted and recommended by the Planning and Zoning Board following their Aug. 27 meeting for approval: (1) variance for Brandon Leger to place a new mobile home at 1115 E. Texas Ave.; (2) variance for Amber Trahan to place a new mobile home at 616 East C Street; and (3) variance for The Pediatric Group of Acadiana to put a medical clinic at 109 N. Parkerson.
All three items were approved by the Council.
The final permit department item was the request by the Planning and Zoning Board in regards to the relocation of a manufactured home located at 515 N. Eastern Ave., owned by Wilbert and Alzno Leopaul.
The Board, during an emergency meeting held Monday, Sept. 10, voted to reject the request due to the city ordinance as “no mobile/manufactured home maybe transported or relocated within the city, nor installed within the city if the mobile/manufactured home is greater than 10 years in age and does not possess the seal or label issued by the United State Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
Following discussion, the Council accepted the board’s recommendation to reject the request; therefore, the mobile home cannot be relocated within the city limits of Rayne.

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